THE RELIC ROOM: MASONIC OBJECTS
The Masons, who owned the MAF building before the Marciano brothers, love drama—the stage and the narratives, the procession of arriving, socializing, and commanding focus.
In 1994, zoning codes blocked the Masons from using the temple and its giant auditorium for anything but nonprofit community events, which made them vacate the building.
After the Marciano brothers bought the building and turned it into an art space, they still made sure to make it an art space that pays homage to the building’s past.
A few sets of documents, photographs, and Masonic paraphernalia left at the Scottish Rite Masonic Temple are now preserved and presented in the renovated Masonic library.
They also left some silk and satin banners created to identify specific lodges. Reminiscent of those used in medieval pageants and a source of fraternal pride, the banners were used both inside the lodge and, on occasion, during public spectacles. Embroidered with Masonic emblems in gold and silver braid and fringed at the bottom, they lent a festive air to ritual occasions. By far the most exciting things left behind pertained to the Masons secret theatrical performances, or rather the staging of Scottish Rite rituals, which functioned as a form of ethical instruction aimed at spiritual and moral self-improvement as one advanced through the degrees.